You want to save more money but have dozens of excuses.
You’re waiting to earn more.
You tell yourself that you suck at saving.
You’re saving little to no money and you’re the only one to blame. No “how to” article or “top finance book” contains a secret formula to help you.
The good news is you can start saving more if you work on adopting better habits. But, this will take time.
I’m no expert but I went from a negative net worth to 45K in less than 4 years. Sure, reading books and blogs helped (somewhat), but the real progress came from within. I had to change many bad habits.
We all have money stories holding us back from our true potential. But, with the right mindset, you can drastically improve your finances. If you’re done procrastinating here’s your no-bs guide on how to start saving more.
There’s a story that’s been holding you back and you need to change this.
How? By asking friends and family their beliefs about money.
This doesn’t need to be an awkward conversation. Ask these money questions to others casually. For example, ask your friends money question when you’re all having a few drinks.
Here are some questions you can ask:
It’s best to ask others who you know are good at managing their money, but any information can help. If friends in bad financial situations have similar beliefs as you about money–this is a sign you should change similar habits. But, consider adopting habits from people managing their money well.
Other alternatives include listening to other Podcasts sharing people’s money stories. But, asking others for their money stories is more effective since you’d be more involved. Once you’ve heard enough stories you’ll realize why you’ve had trouble saving all along.
“When you come to understand your ‘why,’ you will figure out your way…”–Alden Mills
It’s easy to get lost in figuring how something works.
Whether it’s saving money or building a business–people often obsess with the “how.” I know because I’ve done this in the past. But, the secret to saving more money is having a strong “why.”
If you know why you’re doing something, you’ll feel like nothing can stop you. You may even feel like you’ve reached your goal at times when you have a strong purpose. Take time and think what’s motivating you to save money.
Do you want to quit your job and focus on building your business? Do you want to have financial peace not worrying about getting laid off? Your “why” is something personal to you and will determine how persistent you’d be at saving money.
Jot down your “why” in a journal to track it daily. Now when you’re tempted to spend your money, use your “why” as your secret weapon to saying laser-focused.
Knowing your “why” can help you immensely but alone it’s not enough.
This is like having a passion for building a successful business without a plan. It’s not going to happen.
Make your “why” SMART. For example, if you want to stop worrying about getting fired–set a goal to save $10K within one year. Now you can work backward to make sure to meet this goal.
Most entrepreneurs use a journal to track their goals but you can use a spreadsheet. Or, rely on personal finance tools like Personal Capital. Whatever helps you stay focused on reaching your financial goals is the right answer.
Another resource that can help you stay motivated is a vision board. This can be a collection of images that’ll help you feel confident about reaching your goal. Get intentional and see what you’re capable of.
Sometimes saving money is out of the question.
The moment you pay all your bills you’re left with $50-$100 you’d use for food and gas. How do you save in these harsh circumstances?
Use your bad circumstances to your advantage. I remember being broke while in college having little to no money left over to buy anything but food and gas. I kept telling reminding myself this would only be temporary.
Do your best to do something similar. Whatever circumstance you’re facing, know it’s temporary. Trim your expenses to the bone and focus on saving as much as possible.
Invest in yourself as much as possible and focus on improving your situation as best you can. There are countless stories of people who had little and managed to build massive wealth. View building wealth as a journey.
Currently, you’re not the person who can save and earn a high income. But, if you work on building the right habits you’ll grow into this person.
Often we buy things we later regret.
Don’t believe me?
Log in to your Amazon account or check your bank’s account statement. Review all the purchases you’d made during the last 30 days? My guess is that you’ll find many things you no longer want.
Most companies search for ways to make your shopping experience easier, and this is a bad thing. Why? Because you’ll make your purchases faster each time–having less time to think.
Before you buy anything else use the 30-day rule. The rule goes like this–before purchasing any item write it down somewhere. For the next 30 days decide if this item is worth buying.
If after day 30 you still want to buy this item, do it. This strategy won’t prevent all bad purchases, but it’ll help prevent a large amount.
Don’t rely on motivation to help you make good financial choices.
The truth is you won’t always have the motivation to save. Because you’re human you’re going to make mistakes along the way. The solution is to automate as much of the savings process as possible.
Use an automatic budget to automatically save your money. This system isn’t foolproof but it’ll help you save more efficiently. As your saving money keep track of your progress.
Use resources that’ll help you stay focused. Listen to motivational Podcasts and read books. Fill your mind with knowledge and motivation to never give up.
Besides student loan debt, Americans carry on average $4000 in credit card debt.
Keep in mind this isn’t including mortgage debt and other types of debt. Paying off debt is one of the most important things you can do to improve your financial future. I felt relieved after paying down $5500 in credit card debt–and you will too.
Carrying debt has many negative side effects. Such as, being dependant on a job you’re miserable in and carrying constant stress. Eliminating debt as soon as possible–is key to living a happier life down the road.
Begin eliminating one debt at a time. For example, pay off all credit card debt first and pay the minimum on other balances. Then, work your way to paying off student loans.
Saving money is only half the battle–maybe even less.
Spend a big part of your energy growing your income instead. The best way to do this is by starting your own side-hustle. For many, this turns out to be their full-time job in a few years. But don’t focus only on the money, instead, focus on providing value to others.
Many entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed like Michael Ventura preach on providing value. Because these entrepreneurs focused on providing value their businesses are thriving today. Pick a problem you’re obsessed about fixing and get to work.
Do you hate how most websites look? Focus on providing quality website design services.
Dislike how most logos look like? Create a business that creates the best logos for a specific niche.
You’ll provide a better solution if you’re obsessed about the problems you’re solving. Not only will you feel fulfilled, but you’d run a business generating a high income.
Imagine saving more money than you’ve ever thought possible.
It wasn’t because of a generic budgeting technique you’d learned. It was because you stopped giving excuses and got to work. Saving money isn’t rocket science yet most people fail to save.
The only person holding you back from saving is you. Ask others about their money beliefs and be intentional. Don’t wish to save more–find out why you’re trying to save and create a plan to make this happen.
And, don’t settle with your current income. Aim to provide more value to others with your side-hustle. You’ll feel better and have more money to save.
So, will you continue to give excuses or finally start saving more?
Chris writes personal finance and productivity articles for software companies. He gets fresh ideas through continuously investing in himself and interviewing successful entrepreneurs.